ERIN VOGEL

Erin’s career in motorsports began in 2009, when she realized that she would never have another conversation with her family if she didn’t go to the racetrack with them. At the time, she was in the midst of her degree in Interior Design, and just beginning to work in the industry. It would be another five years before she began to think seriously about racing cars, and nearly 10 before she would make the move into pro-racing.

Growing up in a family of engineers, scientists, and tinkerers, Erin was more often found practicing music and writing short stories. Her first experience thundering along with the wind in her hair was atop a vehicle with only one horsepower, and she pursued equestrian sports from the time she could walk all the way through her first year of university. Although horses were always her first love, she rarely said no to other opportunities for adventure – she also took every chance to ride quads and dirt bikes, learned gun safety and self-defense, studied martial arts, and became a student leader in both her high school and college marching band. No matter the challenge, she sought proficiency and precision with a strong sense of discipline.

In choosing a career Erin leaned into her creative side, although she discovered that the mathematical puzzle of planning a space from scratch was always her favorite challenge. Her years spent in the design industry involved space planning and specifying systems furniture for large healthcare and education facilities in Southern California’s then-burgeoning commercial office market, where she led a number of projects with high-profile companies such as Disney, Kaiser Permanente, and UCLA. 

In 2013 the opportunity to go racing presented itself, and the timing aligned with a shift in the family real estate management business. To aid her younger brother as he took on the role of President of the company, Erin left the field of Interior Design and became a managing member of the family business. This move also allowed her the freedom to pursue racing on a more regular basis and she sought out every possible opportunity to get more seat time, racing in multiple grassroots championships such as the Inde Motorsports Challenge Series and the Porsche Owners Club Boxster Spec Racing.

In 2018, Erin was introduced to Flying Lizard Motorsports – perhaps one of the most famous American sportscar teams ever to grace the likes of the American Le Mans Series (now IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship).  There was a plan in the works to send an all-female Audi R8 LMS GT4 team to race the 25 Hours of Thunderhill – one of the more grueling 24 hour races in terms of the weather and hours raced in total darkness, although not as competitive as the historic 24 hour races at Daytona, Le Mans, Nürburgring, and Spa. All it wanted was a female leader and to gather a team. Through a quick collaboration, Erin and Flying Lizard put together a star-studded lineup that included Christina Nielsen (two-time World Endurance Championship winner for Porsche Racing), Aurora Straus (SRO GT4 SprintX Championship winner and BMW Motorsports Ambassador), Ashton Harrison (Global MX5 Cup Racer and Hoonigans star), and Laura Ely (two-time Porsche Trophy West Champion). The team went on to win first in class and finish 4th overall out of 46 cars, finishing at the top of the field among Radicals, GT3 cars, and prototypes.

Riding the momentum of that victory, Erin moved into the Porsche Trophy West GT4 Championship with Flying Lizard. The Porsche Trophy series is highly focused on driver development and coaching, and 2019 was a huge growth year for Erin’s driving. Claiming 15 wins and 16 podiums, Erin grabbed the Bronze Class Championship, often racing and winning against drivers in newer, faster cars. From there she partnered with pro-driver Michael Cooper to pilot a Flying Lizard McLaren 570S GT4 during the 2020 SRO GT4 America SprintX Championship, where the duo claimed multiple top-five finishes among a large and highly competitive field.

teachings of a Mentor

BECOMING ATHENIAN

Although I had many strong female role models growing up, I didn’t have any that were in technical fields. I’ve always wondered if that would have caused me to make different career choices (I’m fairly pig-headed, so maybe not). Regardless, it would have been beneficial to see less of a gender divide in many of the fields we were taught about in school, and it would have been even better to have exposure to more niche fields and careers, no matter who they were represented by.

 Additionally, teaching, coaching, and mentorship are passions of mine. I have many years of experience with in-car coaching at HPDE events as well as leading classroom sessions for novice and intermediate drivers. I get a great sense of personal fulfillment from helping others experience new and exciting learning opportunities and helping them grow in skill and confidence, as so many have done for me over the years.

-Erin Vogel

DOWNSHIFTING

 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

It’s not much to write home about, but as a writer/interior designer I’m pretty proud that I’ve learned to change my own wheels, tires, brakes, spark plugs and coil packs, do an oil change, tune my own shocks at the track, adjust sway bars, etc.

My next goal is to learn more about engineering the chassis so that I can get better at setting up and adjusting my own car at a specific track on any given day. When I drive for a team, I don’t need to do much else other than drive but understanding chassis dynamics and being able to do a little independent engineering even on a layman’s level just helps so much as a driver.

 

DEVELOPING SKILLS

Being a student leader in high school and college really helped develop great communication skills, which later helped me land coveted design positions and take on larger projects in my design career, and which now allow me to be an effective manager in my real estate business. I’ll also credit my communication skills with launching my racing career. Many of my pursuits from music to martial arts, and especially racing, helped me develop a sense of discipline and focus that are essential to personal and professional growth.

 

AWARDS

2017 – 2 podium finishes in Porsche Owners Club BSR class & 2 podium finishes in the Inde Motorsports Ranch Challenge Series Spec-86 class

2018 – Class win at NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill

2019 – 15 1st place finishes and 16 podium finishes at Porsche Trophy West in the GT4 category

2020 – Rebelle Rally Rookie Team of the Year

The Lost Arts Camp: Part I

December 6 @ 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm PST
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